New Alberta Screenings Catch Rare Immunodeficiency Disorder In Baby Boy

Finding out your child has a condition is a devastating thing for any parent to go through, but even more so when your child is only a few days old.

According to CBC News, parents Ian and Hayley Cowie were settling into life with their newborn son when the phone rang a few days after he was born. It was the doctor who delivered their baby, Hudson, and he wasn't just calling to check-in.

Unfortunately, a routine screening had come back, in which Hudson had tested positive for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, also known as SCID.

The illness is sometimes referred to as "bubble boy disease," as children effected have to be kept away from anything that might affect them. As they have non-functioning T-cells, they can pick up illnesses extremely quickly which can cause serious infections.

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Those unaffected by the disease are able to fend off bugs, but for people with SCID, the simplest things can turn into life-threatening scenarios.

After talking to the doctor, the parents made an appointment at Stollery Children's Hospital. It was then that the diagnosis was confirmed. Mr. Cowie admitted that they both hoped the screening was simply wrong, and actually regretted having done it all. After speaking with doctors, their opinion soon changed. Instead, they were grateful that it had been discovered as early as it had. This way, Hudson has a much brighter future.

SCID is only recently been put on the screening list for Alberta newborns. All it takes is a small heel prick between 24 to 48 hours of birth. From those few drops of blood, doctors are able to test for 21 conditions, notifying parents straight away if their child tests positive for any.

By doing this, doctors and parents are able to start treating the newborn immediately, before they even start to exhibit any symptoms at all.

Related: Canadian Experts Call For Mandatory Hep C Screenings In Pregnant Women

For Hudson, his treatment is going to be a long process. The newborn isn't allowed to leave his home, as the risk for infection is too great. Only his parents and two designated careers can have any contact with him at all.

In the meantime, the family are on the list for a bone marrow transplant. Once this happens, Hudson should hopefully be given the all-clear, although the may need daily medication.

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